Space Architecture

Sunday, May 22, 2005


Classes don't begin until 22 August 2005, so academically there is not much to be done. Especially when one is out-of-town, away from people I already know.

So, I've taken to reading publications that are posted to Space Architect. The first of which is "Plug-in Hardware Concepts for Mobile Modular Surface Habitats", by A. Scotte Howe, PhD, and Jeffery W. Howe. What is to gain by diving head-first into articles such as these?

Here are some reasons:

1) To look up what has already been studied

2) To find out the people who are involved in a given project

3) To know what it is that I don't know

Number three is important because by reading about projects that are already in progress, one can avoid the problem of "Not knowing what one doesn't know." Here's what I got from the first three pages above the article:

I don't know very many of the acronyms. Here's a partial list of acronyms that required the Wikipedia or Google to find out their meaning:

ISRU - In Situ Resource Utilization; defined by the (not updated since 1997) University of Washington Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics ISRU Research Lab website, "as it applies to space exploration, is the use of indigenous materials at the site of an interplanetary mission for the production of rocket propellants or life support consumables"

ASTP - Advanced Space Technology Program; The program's website is found here. The website itself is mute at to what it's about. Clicking on the links for Missions, Schedules, etc, leads one to File Not Found errors.

ASCT - Advanced Studies, Concepts, and Tools program; According to ASTP website linked above, "This program will explore revolutionary exploration systems concepts and architectures, peform technology assesments to identify and prioritize mission enabling technologies, develop advanced engineering tools for systems analysis and reducing system risk, and conduct exploratory research and development of emerging technologies with high potential pay-off".

TRL - Technology Readiness Level, ranging from TRL1 through TRL9. That is, concepts on paper through deployment. The Wikipedia has a run-down of the concept and the various levels.

EVA - Extra-Vehicular Activity; essentially spacewalks, moonwalks, etc.

MESR - Wikipedia and Google failed me on this one. If it is still not defined before I finish the article, I'll e-mail authors and ask them.

H&RT - Human and Robotics Technology; appears to be a generic term for that technological field, much like IT stands for Information Technology, regardless of the actual player involved.

For most design students, their eyes would have glazed over. This blog isn't for most design students; it is for people with non-engineering backgrounds who desire to participate in a movement to spread human civilization off-world. Whether or not investing the time it took to find out the meaning of these acronyms (that I had read by page three of a given publication) was worth it remains to be seen. I'm not just going to read, but also see if I can talk to people, over this summer, who are a part of the effort to spread human civilization.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

First Post, Welcome!


My name is Christopher Loyd, a student with the University of Houston's College of Architecture. I'm entering fifth year-studio, particularly Larry Bell's space architecture studio. The primary purpose of this blog is to document my research (and when the semester begins, my design work) into this field.

You might be wondering, "Research? He doesn't know what space architecture is about?" What I will research are the reports, people, companies, news, etc, about space, space architecture, colonization, and other topics that involve spreading human civilization off-world.

The idea of this blog is for people to see how one might become involved in a field, with an educational background focused on design. In this case, architectural design. Clearly, much engineering research and development needs to be done, but what things can an architecture student do?

That is what we'll find out.